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ARC Book Review: ‘Royals’ by Emma Forrest

Title: Royals

Author: Emma Forrest

Length: 336 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

⭐️⭐️⭐️

I saw this on Netgalley and I just had to put in a request.

July, 1981. London. Shy, working-class Steven finds solace in beauty. Eighteen years old, he dreams of being a fashion designer. He’s also gay – maybe he hasn’t decided yet. There’s a lot Steven isn’t sure about, like whether he hates himself or thinks he’s amazing. When he ends up in hospital after being brutally attacked by his father, he meets Jasmine, an heiress. Intoxicating, anarchic, fabulous Jasmine. Fuelled by their shared love of fashion, a friendship blossoms and soon, Steven finds himself swept into her hedonistic world, wholly beguiled. However, underneath the glitter and the frivolity, darkness lies.

I did enjoy this book, I did. But will I remember it? Probably not. Maybe because it’s been such a stand out year for books that this one will just fall behind. Or maybe it’s because it was just something out of nothing.

There wasn’t a massive amount to enjoy about this book, but one of the things was the character called Jasmine. She was a whirlwind. She was the highlight of this book. She was so well written and was a pure joy to read, yet you could feel this underlying sadness to her. Her ending was so heartbreaking, but it needed to end that way.

Without her, this book would’ve been dull. The main character didn’t have much personality at all. There certainly wasn’t much plot, that didn’t involve Jasmine, him being beaten by his father was pushed aside after Jasmine came in the picture.

This book is classed as LGBTQ+ because he’s questioning his sexuality but even that wasn’t explored too much. This book has the opportunity to be great, but unfortunately missed the mark.

It was one of those books that didn’t have much plot but relied heavily on it’s characters, but only one could live up to it and it just wasn’t enough to save this book. It has a sense of one the those books that captures an epic moment in time, but for me, it fails to do that.

Would I recommend this book? Probably not, it just wasn’t good enough. I have a feeling in the future I’ll be thinking what a great character Jasmine was but not remembering what book she was from.

Thanks for Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It comes out October 31st.

Until the next review

JTH

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